Sunday, September 25, 2016

Western Avenue

Uptown Opera House before and after

Uptown Blue Island: Before and After

Western Avenue serves as the primary gateway into Blue Island’s Uptown District, the City’s cultural, architectural, and commercial center. The right-of-way running from 127th Street to James Street is also home to nearly 40 percent of retail businesses located in the City, making it a key commercial corridor.

Converted in the 1970s to a one-way couplet with the primary intent of accommodating additional traffic volumes, Western Avenue and Gregory Street to this day allow for unrestricted flow of vehicles through the City of Blue Island. While the conversion has created two to three lanes of travel along with on-street parking opportunities for patrons of Uptown businesses, it has also dealt a major socioeconomic blow to the overall community and Uptown specifically. Higher vehicular speeds and restricted circulation have (or contribute to) a threefold negative impact:

  • Unsafe and less desirable pedestrian environment
  • Decreased business activity
  • Prevention of the development of a sustainable and vibrant Uptown District

The reconfiguration of Western Avenue as a two-way street will have a significant impact on the City’s Uptown district. This impact, as well as the City’s ongoing efforts to address this issue, makes it imperative to recommend this strategy as a priority action item.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

1 – COBI CMAP Comp Plan excerpt and Western Ave Strategy (2012)
2 – COBI KLOA Western Gregory Traffic Study (2010)
3 – COBI KLOA Uptown Parking Survey (2010)
4 – COBI Complete Streets Ordinance (2011)
5 – COBI ATA Active Transportation Plan Western excerpt (2012)
6 – COBI Fregonese concept (2009)
7 – COBI CNT Farr Blue Island Plan Update streetscape (2009)
8 – COBI CNT Farr Blue Island Plan Charrette results (2009)
9 – COBI CNT Blue Island Plan for Economic Development Exec Summary (2005)

The Blue Island Comprehensive Plan (2012) describes high-priority recommendations for action to achieve our vision, goals and objectives. Reconfigure Western Avenue and Gregory Street as two-way Complete Streets is among the top 10 strategies that are recommended for immediate action.